A shrine is emerging along Placer Hills Road, the winding country road down which I drive every morning, bringing my
daughter to high school. Last weekend, one of the high school seniors drove into a ditch, killing his best friend, who
was in the passenger seat. Our little town is in mourning. While no one knows quite what to say or do, the rituals of
grief are being carried out. At the scene of the accident, a cross appeared, then flowers, and photographs wrapped in
plastic, and finally, Tibetan prayer flags. Every time I drive past, a car or two has stopped at the site, and people
are quietly examining the objects.
This issue of God’s Friends brings together articles about grief and mourning, ranging from the journal
entries of Anonymous, an incest survivor, to an article about creating a liturgy for parents whose children who
have died, by Yvonne Rand, a Buddhist priest. Assembling these articles, I was struck by the ubiquitous nature of loss,
how it is a repeating motif in our lives, from simple losses such as the childhood friend who moves away to more
comprehensive losses of nation, family, health, identity. A question that often arises in the midst of loss is
“Where is God?” In this issue, our writers reflect upon their own experiences of loss, and grapple with
Perhaps reading this issue will bring up your own experiences of grief and
questioning. If so, and you feel inspired to share those experiences,
please email us, and
we will try to post your letters on the website or print them
in our next issue, widening our conversation and deepening our
experience of becoming God’s friends.
Joan Stockbridge, issue editor
God’s Friends continues to change and grow in what are, to us, exciting ways. With this issue, we had
so many good articles and so much good art that we enlarged the print version from 12 to 16 pages—and we still
didn’t have enough room. For the first time, we are offering some content that is available only here, on the
• “A Public/Private Grief,” by Colleen Kavanagh, is a reflection on mourning a friend who died on
one of the 9/11 planes.
• A longer form of Donald Schell’s “Ashes” than that which appears in the print version.
• More of Denise McGill’s haunting photographs of people living with AIDS in Africa.
All the articles in the print version are also available online in two formats:
PDF and HTML (text only). The PDF files are rather large, but
allow you to view and print the journal’s pages as they
appear in the print version, art and all. If you don’t have
a high-speed Internet connection, the HTML files allow you to
read and print the text with a much faster download time. The
art in this issue may also be viewed as a slide
We are working on a full redesign of both the print and online versions of
this journal, which we hope to unveil in mid-2003. We’ll
keep you posted about our plans as they evolve, and would be delighted
to hear your comments
on any aspect of God’s Friends and godsfriends.org.
—Your friends at God’s Friends